As the world’s most popular sport, the return of football to TV screens around the world has given fans worldwide cause for cheer - particularly in today’s physical distancing world. With an avid global following, top tier football league LaLiga has taken a leading role when it comes to the beautiful game’s digital transformation, particularly when it comes to the planning and production of live TV content.
Working across more than 20 different sports venues in sunny Spain, LaLiga was looking for ways to support its media partners to define broadcasting plans for each location. Unlike the human eye, camera lenses struggle to easily adapt to changes in lighting on the pitch; so it’s key to map and coordinate a number of cameras across the stadium to be able to capture all the action on the field.
Arup was appointed to create an interactive app to enable the football media partners to easily map out and test camera locations at each arena, taking into account light levels, as well as glare and shadow lines for different times of the year. Designed by our lighting consultants and digital specialists, our predictive tool will help broadcasters better understand conditions each stadium, charting the sun path during the duration of the match and visualising shadow lines and contrast to inform the final match production for TV.
Building on this successful initial collaboration, our scope grew to include two new venues to be used as the championship reopened in the aftermath of the COVID lockdown.
Creating a bespoke digital solution
To adapt this bespoke digital tool for the new venues being used after the COVID lockdown, our team used structure from motion algorithms and commissioned photographs of the ground and surrounding areas to help create a dense, 3D point cloud of each of the venues.
Point clouds were and assembled in our bespoke, proprietary Arup packages, allowing the team to create immersive data visualisation within 3D models. Our specialist then created custom versions of the sunlight patterns for each stadium with a very quick turnaround, which were then uploaded to the cloud. The client could access the app from any browser and set camera positions, time of the day.
Broadcast planning – minimising logistical risk
The app developed for LaLiga allows sports broadcasters to explore lighting and contrast conditions across all of the different pitches, mitigating some of the logistical risks of live TV streaming. The interactive app can be set to specific times and dates at a choice of venues, allowing users to get estimated readings for illuminance, interact with the shadow line and estimate the shadow and lighting contrast across the field, based on weather data processing. The app can also display examples of the shadows that will be cast by players on the pitch.
The app’s view can also be set to a range of camera directions and positions and provide framelines according to standard, wide-angle or tele lens. Going forward, the team have also developed features including an electric lighting broadcast validation and visualisation tool, enabling broadcasters to plan for floodlights as well.
Broadcast Planning App
Arup’s unique skillset means we were able to fast-track the creation of this bespoke digital solution, which can help a range of sports and event organisers plan for and de-risk sports broadcasting. ” Giulio Antonutto Associate Director
The team has been working with LaLiga since 2018, when we fast-tracked the delivery of the first app, with a turnaround of about six months from start to revision 17. Building on this successful partnership, Arup used the interactive app to help LaLiga adapt to the new complexities of our post-COVID lockdown world by processing and including new venues in a matter of days.